Typically Vitamin C gets all the hype for being the healthiest vitamin for your body (1), and all the other Vitamins are important too, but if you ignore your body’s Vitamin D needs you’re going to be in a ton of trouble (more than you probably realize).
That’s because Vitamin D is crucial for your body to function (2). Your body will produce it naturally in response to sunlight – but if you don’t get a lot of natural sun, eat strictly vegan, or don’t drink milk or eat cheese , you’re very much at risk to be Vitamin D deficient.
Well, your body needs lots of Vitamin D in order to keep your bones strong – because Vitamin D helps your body to use calcium. Vitamin D deficiencies can cause rickets disease, which can cause soft bones and skeletal deformities.
And that’s not all…
What Vitamin D Deficiency Does To Your Body
Guys, it is bad news to have a Vitamin D deficiency. If you have symptoms like bone pain and muscle weakness, it could mean that you aren’t getting enough Vitamin D.
If you don’t have enough Vitamin D in your blood supply, it could lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, severe terrible asthma in children, cognitive impairment in adults, and even cancer.
Plus, Vitamin D can help protect against type 1 and type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hypertension and glucose intolerance. It’s a super important vitamin.
Why You Might Be Vitamin D Deficient
So what are some reasons you might not have enough Vitamin D in your body?
Well, over a long period of time, you might not be eating enough Vitamin D in your diet. This is especially likely if you strictly eat vegan, as you’ll mostly find Vitamin D in animal products like beef liver, fish and fish oils, cheese, fortified milk, and egg yolks.
Another reason you could be Vitamin D deficient is because you’re not getting enough sunlight. Your body will naturally make Vitamin D in your skin when exposed to sunlight – so if you stay inside a lot, wear clothes that cover your entire body, or work in an office where you don’t get sun, you might need to get more sunlight to get more Vitamin D.
A third reason people become Vitamin D deficient is when they have dark skin. The pigment melanin reduces your body’s ability to produce Vitamin D – so if you have darker skin that could reduce the amount of vitamin D your body gets from sunlight.
Another cause of Vitamin D deficiency comes from inefficient kidneys. As we grow older, our kidneys are less efficient at using Vitamin D to help your body – so as you age your risk of Vitamin D deficiency goes up.
If you have a chronic disease like Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, or celiac disease, your digestive tract might not be able to absorb Vitamin D as effectively as it should, which could cause a deficiency.
Finally, people who are obese are at increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency. Because your body extracts Vitamin D from your blood by using fat cells, when you have too many fat cells it disrupts your body’s natural ingestion and use of Vitamin D.
How To Treat A Vitamin D Deficiency
If you want to test and see if your body is Vitamin D deficient, the best test is to do a 25-hydroxy Vitamin D blood test. If you’ve got between 20 and 50 nanograms/milliliter, then you’ve got enough. If you’ve got less than 12 nanograms/milliliter, you’re Vitamin D deficient. If you guessed that in order to cure a Vitamin D deficiency, you have to ingest and get more Vitamin D, you made a good guess. Typically, you ingest more vitamin D through your diet and supplements.
Everyone under the age of 70 has a recommended daily dosage of Vitamin D of 600 IU (international units). If you’re over the age of 70, that daily recommended dosage is raised to 800 IU. Furthermore – the maximum safe amount of Vitamin D you can ingest in a day is capped at 4,000 IU.
Vitamin D supplements can be taken – but only if you don’t spend a lot of time in the sun, or you always cover your skin when you’re outside. Talk to your doctor about Vitamin D supplements if you’re worried about being deficient.